Contributor: Holly Wise & Ladan Mantaghi

Holly Wise and Ladan Mantaghi are co-directors of the Global Social Enterprise and Development Fellows Program. Wise leads Wise Consulting and teaches enterprise development at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and Mantaghi is the Executive Director of the Global Social Enterprise Initiative at the McDonough School of Business. They are the organizing faculty for the Georgetown University Global Innovation Lab powered by 3 Day Startup.

In October, students collaborated to identify global innovation challenges at Georgetown University’s first Global Innovation Lab powered by 3 Day Startup. In three days students developed solutions to global needs with the guidance of six mentors. The program culminated on day three as students pitched to a panel of five distinguished individuals.

Students that participated included Global Social Enterprise and Development Fellows from the Global Human Development (GHD) Program, students from the School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business, along with graduate students from the GHD Innovation in Action course. With the help of 3DS Facilitator Alec Wilson and the use of 3 Day Startup’s “learning by doing” model adapted for global innovation, students brainstormed and formed their innovation teams on day one.


What did they choose to work on?

  • Campotos Hoya aimed to solve the unemployment of displaced women and food waste in Colombia.
  • Shway developed a supply chain to the U.S. for sewn garments of traditional Seshoesho cloth from Lesotho to enhance the livelihood for women local to the region.
  • Apps2Analytics worked to disrupt data collection and analysis in international development assistance.
  • Gamechangers aimed to push positive behavior change for youth in refugee camps.
  • Scholastic Plastic created a sustainable system for recycling in Turkey.

On day two, teams conducted market validation via stakeholder interviews and surveys. Due to the global component of this program, students also collected data from across the globe to supplement their customer interviews. However, because of the global challenge, leveraging network support in such a short period posed difficult.

With the guidance from mentors, students also prototyped and planned their solutions during the course of the weekend. Mentors came from diverse backgrounds such as finance, industry and trade associations, and tech. Mentors provided critical feedback, contacts, and different perspectives informed by different industry backgrounds. Many of the mentors helped students narrow down their innovation ideas. “Our mentor took our project and tore it apart and then helped us put it all together again,” says a student.

On day three, teams pitched to a senior level panel of experts in innovation, philanthropy, global development, and finance. The panel gave feedback and advice to help teams move forward with their innovation ideas after the program. Many teams made valuable contacts through the mentors and panelists.


“We had nothing on Saturday after several pivots. So we had to start over completely this morning. And now, after our presentation one of the panelists said she wanted to follow up with us to bring this project forward!” says a student.

The Innovation Lab and 3 Day Startup delivered an unprecedented experiential program for participants at Georgetown. Georgetown is dedicated to helping students develop innovation and social enterprise solutions for global challenges.

“I wish more of my program at Georgetown allowed for this kind of experiential learning. I got so much out of this,” says a student.